« PreviousContinue »
He therefore makes all birds of every sect
Free of his farm, with promise to respect
Their several kinds alike, and equally protect.
His gracious edict the same franchise yields
To all the wild increase of woods and fields,
And who in rocks aloof, and who in steeples
To Crows the like impartial grace affords,
And Choughs and Daws, and such republic birds:
Secur'd with ample privilege to feed,
Each has his district and his bounds decreed;
Combin'd in common interest with his own,
But not to pass the Pigeon's Rubicon.
"Here ends the reign of his pretended Dove,
All prophecies accomplish'd from above;
For Shiloh comes the sceptre to remove.
Reduc'd from her imperial high abode,
Like Dionysius to a private rod,*
The passive church, that with pretended grace
Did her distinctive mark in duty place,
Now touch'd, reviles her Maker to his face.
"What after happen'd is not hard to guess:
The small beginnings had a large increase,
And arts and wealth succeed, the sacred spoils of
'Tis said the Doves repented, though too late,
Become the smiths of their own foolish fate;
Nor did their owner hasten their ill hour,
But, sunk in credit, they decreas'd in pow'r:
Like snows in warmth, that mildly pass away,
Dissolving in the silence of decay:
“The Buzzard, not content with equal place, Invites the feather'd Nimrods of his race
* Dionysius the younger, being expelled from Syracuse, became a schoolmaster at Corinth.
To hide the thinness of their flock from sight,
And all together make a seeming goodly flight.
But each have separate interests of their own;
Two Czars are one too many for a throne:
Nor can the' usurper long abstain from food;
Already he has tasted Pigeons' blood,
And may be tempted to his former fare,
When this indulgent lord shall late to Heaven re-
Bare-benting times, and moulting months may come,
When, lagging late, they cannot reach their home;
Or rent in schism (for so their fate decrees)
Like the tumultuous college of the bees,
They fight their quarrel, by themselves oppress'd,
The tyrant smiles below, and waits the falling feast."
Thus did the gentle Hind her fable end,
Nor would the Panther blame it, nor commend;
But, with affected yawnings at the close,
Seem'd to require her natural repose:
For now the streaky light began to peep,
And setting stars admonish'd both to sleep.
The Dame withdrew, and wishing to her guest
The peace of Heaven, betook herself to rest.
Ten thousand angels on her slumbers wait,
With glorious visions of her future state.
OUR Vows are heard by times, and Heav'n takes
To grant, before we can conclude, the pray'r;
Preventing angels met it half the way,
And sent us back to praise who came to pray.
Just on the day, when the high-mounted sun
Did farthest in its northern progress run,
He bended forward, and ev'n stretch'd the sphere
Beyond the limits of the lengthen'd year,
To view a brighter sun in Britain born;
That was the business of his longest morn;
The glorious object seen, 'twas time to turn.
Departing Spring could only stay to shed
Her gloomy beauties on the genial bed,
But left the manly summer in her stead,
With timely fruit the longing land to cheer,
And to fulfil the promise of the year.
Betwixt two seasons comes the' auspicious heir,
This age to blossom, and the next to bear.
Last solemn Sabbath saw the church attend,
The Paraclete in fiery pomp descend;
But when his wondrous octave* roll'd again,
He brought a royal infant in his train.
So great a blessing to so good a King
None but the' eternal Comforter could bring
Trinity-Sunday is the octave of Whit-Sunday.
Or did the mighty Trinity conspire,
As once in council to create our sire?
It seems as if they sent the new-born guest
To wait on the procession of their feast;
And on their sacred anniverse decreed
To stamp their image on the promis'd seed.
Three realms united, and on one bestow'd,
An emblem of their mystic union show'd:
The mighty Trine the triple empire shar'd,
As every person would have one to guard.
Hail, Son of Prayers! by holy violence
Drawn down from Heaven; but long be banish'd
And late to thy paternal skies retire: [thence,
To mend our crimes whole ages would require;
To change the' inveterate habit of our sins,
And finish what thy godlike sire begins.
Kind Heaven, to make us Englishmen again,
No less can give us than a patriarch's reign.
The sacred cradle to your charge receive,
Ye seraphs, and by turns the guard relieve;
Thy father's angel and thy father join
To keep possession and secure the line;
But long defer the honours of thy fate:
Great may they be like his, like his be late;
That James his running century may view,
And give this son an auspice to the new.
Our wants exact at least that moderate stay:
For see the Dragon winged on his way,
To watch the travail, and devour the prey.
Or, if allusions may not rise so high,
Thus when Alcides rais'd his infant cry,
The snakes besieg'd his young divinity:
But vainly with their forked tongues they threat;
For opposition makes a hero great.
To needful succour all the good will run,
And Jove assert the godhead of his son.
O still repining at your present state,
Grudging yourselves the benefits of fate,
Look up, and read in characters of light
A blessing sent you in your own despite.
The manna falls, yet that celestial bread,
Like Jews, you munch, and murmur while you feed:
May not your fortune be like theirs, exil'd,
Yet forty years to wander in the wild;
Or if it be, may Moses live at least,
To lead you to the verge of promis'd rest,
Though poets are not prophets, to foreknow
What plants will take the blight, and what will
By tracing Heaven, his footsteps may be found:
Behold! how awfully he walks the round!
God is abroad, and, wondrous in his ways,
The rise of empires and their fall surveys:
More (might I say) than with an usual eye,
He sees his bleeding church in ruin lie,
And hears the souls of saints beneath his altar cry.
Already has he lifted high the sign*
Which crown'd the conquering arms of Constan
The moont grows pale at that presaging sight,
And half her train of stars have lost their light.
Behold another Sylvester,+ to bless
The sacred standard, and secure success;
Large of his treasures, of a soul so great,
As fills and crowds his universal seat.
* The Cross.
The Crescent of the Turks..